JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — When a child has cancer, it’s a crushing blow that the whole family feels. However, everyone comes together, focusing to fight the disease, and the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund is there to make sure siblings don’t get lost in that fight.
It hosted a very special party for the brothers and sisters of those battling cancer. Several kids, who live in Jacksonville had a special surprise in store on a train.
Kim Todd, with the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation, said this is an annual event, but when a train was presented to help spread the holiday cheer, she said, “Why not?”
“It really just provides some fun, craft, entertainment,” Todd said.
Todd told Action News Jax that many siblings are often forgotten about when their siblings are fighting cancer.
“Oftentimes, the sibling sort of gets left behind, not by any fault of the parent, but because they are so focused on the child undergoing treatment,” Todd explained.
Action News Jax spoke with Sem-Bach, whose 7-year-old daughter is fighting brain cancer. She said this event is great for her children to take their minds off what’s going on with their sister.
“Luci was first diagnosed with a brain tumor when she was 2. She had surgery and 45 rounds of chemo,” said Sem-Bach. “We thought everything was clear, and unfortunately, about three years after she finished treatment, she relapsed.”
The train ride lasted for an hour, and it started with instructions on how to stay safe during the ride. Siblings were then fed dinner, courtesy of the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation.
Many siblings, like Noah Rodriguez, said this was their first time on a train, but they would like to get back on soon. Noah, who has a little sister battling cancer, said he tries his best to be a big brother during tough times.
“If she falls, I’ll check on her and help her to my dad to see if she’s okay, and I hold her hand when she gets shots,” he said.
Gifts were also given to siblings who were on board during the ride. From Kinetic Sand, Gravity Maze, and even a super archery kit that Sophia Dewitt received, all the kids were excited about their new gifts. Sophia knows what she will do with her gift.
“I’m going to cut this side off and try to like, I don’t know, and shoot the thing,” she said.
Rodriguez, who received a Lego set, said he’s excited to unpack his new Christmas present.
“I’m a really good builder,” he said. “I love building things. I built a Lego robot with my dad before.”
When the trip ended, the kids had a big surprise waiting for them when they walked out: Santa Claus was waiting to meet them.
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